National Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Avril Lavigne thought she was dying and was bedridden for 5 months
Lyme disease is an infectious disease spread by ticks. The dangers are many and it has led to health-related disorders among umpteen people across the globe. Did you know Avril Lavigne was among them?
The 'Complicated' singer opened up about her struggle with the disease and the treatment that finally helped her get through it all. The symptoms first began in 2014 when she was on tour. Something was amiss and she didn't feel physically fit. "I’m achy, I’m fatigued, I cannot get the f**k out of bed — what the f**k is wrong with me?" she told her doctors.
Upon investigation and with the help of a friend, she found out that she had contracted Lyme disease. As unbelievable as it may sound, the disease left her bedridden for five months. “I had no idea a bug bite could do this. There were definitely times I couldn’t shower for a full week because I could barely stand,” she said in a People interview. “It felt like having all your life sucked out of you.”
Talking about how the condition made her feel, she added, “I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t move. I thought I was dying.”
With no clue on how to go about it, she reached out to another popular celebrity for help. Reality TV star Yolanda Hadid had published a memoir titled, 'Believe Me: My Battle With the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease' and she decided to consult her.
Hadid recommended a specialist to Lavigne but finding the right treatment took time. In a Billboard interview, Lavigne said, “It’s a bug — a spirochete, so you take these antibiotics, and they start killing it. But it’s a smart bug: It morphs into a cystic form, so you have to take other antibiotics at the same time. It went undiagnosed for so long that I was kind of f**ked.”
By 2015, she recovered fully and said, “This was a wake-up call. I really just want to enjoy life from here on out.” Her song 'Head Above Water' encapsulates her journey of dealing with her disease. Expressing how she felt, she said, “I had accepted that I was dying," she said. "And I felt in that moment like I was underwater and drowning, and I was trying to come up to gasp for air," hence the name of the song, she said.
Back in January 2020, she lent her support to Justin Bieber and wrote in an Instagram post: “Today @JustinBieber shared that he has Lyme disease. There are too many people that have this debilitating disease! People I love and care about and many friends and fans I have crossed paths with. To everyone affected by Lyme, I want to tell you that there is HOPE.”
“Because Lyme is a daily struggle, for the better part of two years, I was really sick and fighting for my life. Writing #HeadAboveWater helped me get through the worst of it, but the bad days still come and go. At the time, putting together my album saved my life. I needed to tell my story and to be able to share my experiences with others. Lyme disease is in all 50 states in the US and in EVERY country in the world, except Antarctica. It is a global pandemic but NOT a global priority. I never want others to suffer the way that I did.”
May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and it brings an opportunity for Lyme patients, activists, and educators to share tips and open up about Lyme and tick-borne diseases. In this column, we highlight the struggles of celebrities and talk about preventive and cure measures.